Their Memory Will Carry On: The Importance of ‘The Black Parade’

Pic for Black Parade piece - Artist credit to James Jean
Artist credit: James Jean

By Fraser Bryce (@fraser_bryce)

On the 20th of July, 2016, the internet exploded in spectacular fashion. The source of this social media pandemonium? A five second video. I know, it doesn’t sound that exciting, but it’s the content of this video that sent the internet into overdrive. A flag, bearing the letters ‘MCRX’ and some piano music in the background. It’s that piano music that made me have a panic attack, because I am from a generation where a high G on a piano signals one thing: the start of the voice of a generation.

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, My Chemical Romance’s seminal The Black Parade turned 10 on the 23rd of October. When the album was first announced, I don’t think anyone could have foreseen the seismic shift that was to come. For the year or so that followed, everyone knew about My Chemical Romance. Teenagers and Welcome To The Black Parade were inescapable on the radio. Everywhere you went, there were kids with dyed hair and marching band uniforms. The fallout of ‘The Black Parade’ was a cultural phenomenon on a level akin to the grunge explosion in the nineties. It shaped the face of rock music for at least half a decade, with everyone and their mums donning eyeliner and bleaching their hair in the hope of jumping on the bandwagon. As was the case with grunge, no one even came close to the originators.

What of the album itself, I hear you cry? Well, if you’re one of the poor folk that haven’t heard it, let me describe it to you. The Black Parade is perfection, pure and simple. One of the most ambitious albums ever released, the songs cover everything from pop-punk to emo to flamenco to show tunes. If you’re in any doubt, listen to Mama, which goes from a jaunty acoustic guitar line into a lurching riff-monster in the space of three minutes. I actually think it’s unfair to label My Chemical Romance as an emo band, because The Black Parade shows more in common with artists like Queen and Meat Loaf than it does with Jimmy Eat World and Brand New. The Black Parade is more than an album, it’s a theatrical journey that plays out like the soundtrack to a Tim Burton blockbuster. If pushed, I’d say The Black Parade is the second most perfect album ever made, just behind Enema Of The State by blink-182.

The effects of The Black Parade are even still being felt today. Garbage like Pierce The Veil wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes had My Chemical Romance not paved the way, and even newer bands like Creeper owe more than a debt to them. The world of music may never experience a phenomenon like The Black Parade again, so be thankful that you got to experience a cultural shift on this level. If the fiasco over that teaser video proved anything, it’s that while My Chemical Romance may be long gone, their memory carries on.}